Final Fantasy Is Our Generation's Jazz Singer

rich_d

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I remember reading that the first talkies were failures both with the public and the critics. So much so that people wrote them off in the press. Then came the Jazz Singer.
I think we will look back at Final Fantasy and say that this was a landmark movie which changed everything.
Right now, you can get quotes from directors saying that actors will never be replaced because only a human can effectively act. 20 years from now those quotes will be quite comical.
20 years from now (or less) when many of the top/favorite actors will be CG rendered creations and guess what ... there will be no residual checks in the mail to them.
Creative people everywhere will use the impressive results of Final Fantasy to get other projects greenlighted.
And one of them will not only get the CGI better than FF but one of them will have a great story to present as well - and this stuff will explode. Let's face it, FF is not a great story ... but neither was The Jazz Singer.
 

Peter Apruzzese

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Except that THE JAZZ SINGER was a smash hit with the public, who then demanded more and more talkies. FINAL FANTASY was, by all accounts, a resounding flop with the public, and very few people are demanding more CGI-actor-driven movies. It's an ambitious animated movie, to be sure, but the TOY STORY series, A BUG'S LIFE, SHREK, and even DINOSAUR were far more revolutionary than FINAL FANTASY.
 

Jack Briggs

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And I must say I agree with Peter here. Rich's point is understandable, though--I see what he's getting at.
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Morgan Jolley

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Actually, not many people think of CGI as a true filmmaking venue and think of it more as cartoonish and for children. A lot of people thought "Final Fantasy" meant "dragons and knights" and were pissed off and didn't see it. Had it been called something else, it might have done better.
I don't think CGI actors will replace real ones because its more expensive (right now) and they don't need so many people working. Actually, they will probably be used for body doubles instead.
 

Thi Them

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Here's what Roger Ebert had to say:
But the look of the film is revolutionary. ''Final Fantasy'' is a technical milestone, like the first talkies or 3-D movies. You want to see it whether you care about aliens or space cannons. It exists in a category of its own, the first citizen of the new world of cyberfilm.
 

rich_d

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"quote:
But the look of the film is revolutionary. ''Final Fantasy'' is a technical milestone, like the first talkies or 3-D movies. You want to see it whether you care about aliens or space cannons. It exists in a category of its own, the first citizen of the new world of cyberfilm."
Gulp! Roger Ebert and I are on the same page ... I may have to reconsider my opinion .....
Peter makes a very valid point about the difference between the Jazz Singer's initial success and Final Fantasy's lack thereof ... but perhaps we should wait to see the DVD results before we call it a bust with the public ....
I do disagree with the other titles you mention as being more revolutionary however .... this is human's looking human ... the others ... toys and dinosaurs being toys and dinosaurs ...
 

Morgan Jolley

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The only thing is that the toys and dinosaurs acted like humans.
When people accept that movies with the same titles as videogames and movies done in CGI are not always for children, then CGI will really spread. I can't wait to see a dramatic movie done in CGI. I can't wait for one to win an oscar, also.
 

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"Final Fantasy Is Our Generation's Jazz Singer..."
Unless you mean the Jazz Singer with Neil Diamond and Laurence Olivier.
 

Mark Turetsky

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I feel the need to pipe in here as an actor. What makes watching human beings interesting is that a good actor acts on impulse. What makes a live performer entertaining is that they can unselfconsciously react to their given circumstances and surprise the audience by trusting their instinct and not second-guessing themselves. We don't get this with computer generated characters: they don't react, they don't have given circumstances, nor do they have impulses. Instead, they have teams of animators trying to make them look like real people reacting to given circumstances impulsively. It's not the same thing, and it requires a great deal more effort to pull off than just using the real thing.
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DaveF

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20 years from now (or less) when many of the top/favorite actors will be CG rendered creations and guess what ... there will be no residual checks in the mail to them.
I think this will not be the case. There are always actors -- it's just a matter of whether they are in front of the curtain, or behind it.
If the $20M actors of today are replaced, they will be replaced by the $20M actor-mators -- those who can imbue digital paintings with life -- of tomorrow.
Finally, as Morgan points out, we've had the ability to replace real people with created images for decades; but there is no clamor for real actors to be replaced by Disney animations in all cases.
 

DaveF

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What makes a live performer entertaining is that they can unselfconsciously react to their given circumstances and surprise the audience by trusting their instinct and not second-guessing themselves.
This is also something that concerns me about the increasing use of post-production effects: the inability of the actors to to spontaneously react to the monsters/bad guy/environment because all they have is a green room, with monsters, etc. to be added later.
 

Peter Apruzzese

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I do disagree with the other titles you mention as being more revolutionary however .... this is human's looking human ...
Not for one minute did I believe that the animated humans in Final Fantasy looked remotely realistic. Their movements - even though motion captured from living people - were very artificial. And their faces had a very unnatural symmetry, especially when they spoke. They've got a LONG way to go to make realistic CGI humans. A lot more study of anatomy by the animators is in order (and they still haven't learned how to properly simulate camera movements, either). That said, I do think Final Fantasy will be a big DVD seller. It's the kind of movie that appeals to many DVD buyers. It didn't so anything for me theatrically, so I won't bother with the DVD, but I can see many others picking it up. So it may end up being more influential than I think.
 

Shayne Lebrun

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Or, if Neil Stephenson is to be believed, the one will enable the other.
In his book "The Diamond Age," he envisions 'ractors.' These ractors have nanobots implanted in their bodies (mainly faces) that serve the same function as the pingpong balls you see on people being motion captured. The human ractor provides the movements and dialog, and a computer maps the appropriate look to their face and body, using the nanobots as reference points. People then interact with these ractors in a form of improvisational theater.
Very interesting.
 

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Pardon my ignoracne cause I should know this but, what is a "talkies" film?
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Peter Apruzzese

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"talkies" = "talking pictures"
i.e., movies with synchronized sound. The Jazz Singer (1927) was one of the first feature films to have some scenes with synchronized dialogue (the rest of the film is presented as a silent film, complete with intertitles).
 

Matty B

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CGI pictures will NEVER over take real movies, or even become mainstream. No one will ever go see a movie because SO and SO did the animation. We want to see big stars in our movies, it's why Hollywood is what it is.
 

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Matty, I don't quite agree with you.
People go to see a film with big stars in it because they have a good idea of the kind of film it will be with these actors in it. However, people also go to Disney films for the same reason. Therefore there is no reason not to expect future CGI film studios to be the same as Disney is today. I'm sure we'll have CGI studios who specialise in various genres such as Horror and Sci-Fi and people will go to see films produced by these studios regardless of the actors.
Also people will go to see a film if it is good no matter who was staring in it. For example the original Star Wars did not have any big movie stars in it.
Personally I look forward to CGI films as they should eventually be cheaper to produce than normal films and would therefore encourage more variety and innovation in film making. However, the negative side is that a studio could produce many sequels to a sucessful CGI film with out much cost to cash in on its success.
 

Rich Malloy

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Right now, you can get quotes from directors saying that actors will never be replaced because only a human can effectively act. 20 years from now those quotes will be quite comical. 20 years from now (or less) when many of the top/favorite actors will be CG rendered creations and guess what ... there will be no residual checks in the mail to them.
You mean like Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny and Bart Simpson? Batman and Scooby Doo? Mary frickin' Worth?
It's all just animation. CGI is just another tool in the animator's toolbox. In what sense is it "revolutionary"?
Realism? I see no reason why realism should be a goal of animation at all. You want real life? Point a camera at it. No CGI necessary. But gimme a highly stylized, individual conception of reality, and you've got me interested. Of course, this is something that's been done for years by Walt Disney, Miyazaki, Tex Avery, etc., etc. And computer-assisted/realized animation is now a mainstay of Saturday morning cartoons. And we've all seen A Bugs Life and the Toy Story movies... not to mention The Phantom Menace.
 

Ted Todorov

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I think the point of the original poster got completely lost:
The question is, whether 20, 50 or 100 years from now we will have CGI "actors" doing the LA Confidentials, Screams, and Pearl Harbors of their day. And whether you would have the same CGI "actor" playing different parts.
Why would they do that? No need for stunt doubles or plastic surgery. No actors late for work. No salaries or residuals to pay (a large and growing part of budgets these days). No one objecting to doing a nude scene. No stars "too old" to play the part.
Personally I don't have crystal ball or a strong opinion on the subject, but I'd love to hear what other people think.
Ted
P.S. If anything, Final Fantasy shows that CGI "actors" are not ready for prime time and that a bad script will sink anything, no matter how good it looks. There was a reason why Toy Story 2 made a mint and FF flopped.
[Edited last by Ted Todorov on October 24, 2001 at 01:33 PM]
 

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